Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) seemingly dismissed concerns over New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fallout in the Empire State following reports that his administration covered up coronavirus fatality data in nursing homes out of fears of a federal investigation.
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Gillibrand made it clear she was aware of the ongoing federal investigation into the Cuomo administration’s actions taken during the coronavirus pandemic and insisted she would monitor the situation, but said she is focused on her job in the United States Senate. Gillibrand said:
I sit on the aging committee in the Senate and one of the things I hope we can do is actually have a thorough review. Older Americans in nursing homes all across the country suffer disproportionally because when COVID got into these nursing homes/assisted living facilities, it spread like wildfire. A lot of our older Americans have really bore the brunt of COVID.
Gillibrand also stated that she believes New Yorkers and all Americans should work to prepare for another pandemic, claimin, “this is not our last pandemic.”
“This is not our last pandemic, and we have to be prepared for the next disease that could hit our communities this hard and that’s what my job is to do,” added Gillibrand.
Asked whether she believes Gov. Cuomo should resign over the scandal, Gillibrand said she did not think so.
“My job on the federal level is to provide resources…and that’s the reason why I am here today, to talk about the urgent need of LIHEAP as one of the areas of resources that we desperately need,” Gillibrand responded when asked if one person should hold the majority of executive power regarding the ongoing pandemic.
In addition to her remarks regarding the Cuomo administration’s coverup, Gillibrand urged Congress to deliver Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding in the next coronavirus relief package.
“Families across our state are struggling to basically make ends meet, and to pay their bills, including their utility bills,” Gillibrand said. “Nationwide, 1 in 5 homes is at least 60 days behind on their electric and gas utilities.”
During a coronavirus briefing on Friday, as reported by Breitbart News, Cuomo did not apologize for his administration’s March 25 directive to place COVID positive patients in nursing homes, nor did he take responsibility for the inaccurate numbers of virus-related deaths in nursing homes.
Instead, Cuomo expressed regret for not working “against the lies and politics and the distortions aggressively enough” and accused politicians of “making up stuff to get their face on TV.”
“We were busy. We were doing our job. We were trying to save lives. No excuses,” Cuomo said. “I was not aggressive enough in knocking down the falsities.”